From Global to Local: Understanding the Local Search Marketing Program & impact in San Diego County.

La Concha Bakery owner, Claudia Hernandez learned a thing or two about marketing and it's impact in her business less than 2 years ago when she took the pledge to get serious about marketing & social media.

A third generation baker, Hernandez met Maresa Friedman, a business consultant and growth strategist who encouraged her to be a part of the online conversation. Admittedly, Hernandez was skeptical. "So much of our industry is based on word of mouth, flyers, and the usual last minute promotion, I hadn't really considered Marketing to be a "must have"- I thought of it as a luxury- but Maresa made it simple - she told me we were either part of the conversation online or left out of it".

Hernandez isn't alone.

In fact, in 2017, local data showed that in San Diego County alone, there were about 77,000 companies that employ fewer than 50 people. Among them, a large percentage of retailers, hotels, hospitality focused businesses just like La Concha. Like most small business owners in San Diego county, she spends most of her days in the business as opposed to working on it. The day to day operations, ensuring orders are met, managing staff, and planning for busy times. The simple act of intentional marketing planning and improving her social media presence led to a sharp increase in sales in the bakery- real numbers that translated to brand awareness and revue.

Within days of working together, Friedman was able to show Hernandez small things that created an excitement to share more often on social media. Among the findings? The bakery had been featured in San Diego Magazine as having one of the cities finest breakfast pastry- all unknown to Hernandez until Friedman walked her through what current searches on Social Media & Google showed about her business. She had event forgotten that Baking Buyer had done a small profile on the business a few years ago.

It was crazy to see what was out there online about the bakery. Articles, blogs, and photos were everywhere. As we started creating content and posting, even more exciting things began to happen.

Being Seen, Getting Found & Taking it Seriously

It wasn't easy- in fact far from- but Friedman promised Hernandez that consistency and dedication to ongoing investment in time, would lead to overall revenue increase, continued brand exposure, and more opportunity within the city. She helped her understand that consumers were making decisions before they ever walked in the door- and that made sense.

The bakery was soon featured on Telemundo then approached by a real estate company to run a joint video promotion, and named one of the Best of South Bay. Hernandez then coordinated a promotion for the Chula Vista Department, scored Costco as a business client, and added local espresso by Cafe Moto to increase average dollar spend. It's safe to say thing are moving in a great direction!

She was also able to give the bakery a new audience by showcasing their custom cakes and larger ticket wedding cakes, and brokering deals around San Diego beyond her Chula Vista home base. This allowed her to create promotions and combine a digital and analog strategy within her marketing plan.

Hernandez found that the increase of sales (by approximately 20%!) allowed her to hire help to continue the work on the project. To this day she continues to invest in social media, grow her local following and manage reviews and reputation online.

The biggest takeaway for Hernandez? "I had to incorporate marketing as a must- it wasn't a question of time or budget- it was both. I had to make myself a part of the online conversation, showcase my products and brand, and engage with my customers- all before they ever walked into the store. When they came in- I know they wanted to buy- that was the difference"

Powered by The San Diego Workforce Partnership, Walmart Foundation, San Diego Gas & Electric & The Executive Cat Herder the local program aims to train business owners and their teams about regional marketing practices to improve their digital footprints. This article highlights a San Diego County business owner who is sharing their firsthand experience with local search marketing.

Are you a retailer or hospitality based business interested in getting training funded by our program? If so, apply here.

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